Moules Mariniere ‘

Monies Mariniere (moo

1 ½ mah-ree-nyay) make excellent first course, served in deep soup bowls with a fork to eat the mussels and a soup spoon for the juices. Provide plenty of French brad to dip into the juice, some well-chilled M us cadet to drink and you have a truly French dish.

3 quarts mussels

2 oz. butter

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 celery stalk, trimmed and finely chopped bouquet garni consisting of

4 parsley sprigs,

1 thyme spray and

1 bay leaf tied together

16 fl. oz. dry white wine

1 teaspoon salt :½ teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Wash the mussels in cold water and, with a stiff brush, scrub them to remove any mud on their shells. Discard any mussels which are not tightly shut or do not close if sharply tapped, and any that float or have broken shells.

With a sharp knife, scrape off the tufts of hair, or beards, which protrude from between the closed shell halves. Place the mussels in a large bowl of cold water and soak them for 1 hour. Drain the mussels in a colander and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the foam sub-sides, add the onion and garlic and fry, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent but not brown. Add the celery, bouquet garni, wine, salt and pepper and bring the mix-ture to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, add the mussels and simmer, shaking the pan occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the shells open. With a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to a warmed serving dish. Remove and discard the empty shell halves from the mussels. Set the mussels aside and keep warm.

Strain the mussel cooking liquid into a bowl, then return it to the saucepan. Place the pan over high heat and bring it to the boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Pour the liquid over the mussels, sprinkle over the parsley and serve.